LAWRENCEVILLE — It looked like Gwinnett had wasted a strong start by Zach Stewart. Then the Indianapolis bullpen faltered, just like the G-Braves’ had.
Joey Terdoslavich homered to tie the game in the eighth inning and Christian Bethancourt hit a walk-off blast on the first pitch of the ninth for a 6-5 victory before a crowd of 6,748 at Coolray Field.
It was the first game-ending homer for Gwinnett since Terdoslavich connected against Syracuse last season on June 22.
Terdoslavich had been 0-for-18 before he went deep against Indianapolis reliever Tyler Waldron (1-1) with two out in the eighth and the homer was just his third of the season.
Bethancourt had hit only one homer before picking on Waldron’s first offering of the ninth and pulling a drive that went over the fence near the left-field foul pole.
Mark Hamilton had homered earlier for the G-Braves and Bethancourt joined Phil Gosselin and Derrick Mitchell with two hits.
The victory got the G-Braves’ eight-game homestand off to a good start and raised their record to 24-17 – a half-game better than Durham in the International League’s South Division. Indianapolis leads the West Division with a 24-18 record.
Juan Jaime (1-0) pitched a perfect ninth inning and got the victory after Mark Lamm had faultered in the eighth.
Stewart, who was acquired by Atlanta at the end of spring training from the Chicago White Sox, had his best start for Gwinnett on May 11 at Lehigh Valley and was trying to build on it Saturday night against Indianapolis.
The native of Texas did his part, leaving after six innings with a 4-1 lead. But Lamm gave up four runs in the eighth inning, the big blow a three-run homer by Jeff Decker.
Stewart needed 32 pitches while leaving the bases loaded in the first inning, but allowed just one run over his six innings while giving up six hits. He struck out five and walked two while lowering his ERA to 4.24.
Gregory Polanco, Pittsburgh’s top prospect had an RBI double in the top of the fifth, but the G-Braves scored four times in the bottom of the inning against former major leaguer Vance Worley.
Hamilton led off with his second homer of the season and Gwinnett added three more runs on a hit batter, three singles and an error. Edward Salcedo and Todd Cunningham had RBI singles.
Polanco was 3-for-4 with two doubles, raising his International League-best average to .389.
Stewart had gone seven innings in his previous start against Lehigh Valley and allowed just one run. Best yet, that had come off a solid six innings in a home victory over Buffalo on May 6.
Stewart, a third-round draft pick of Cincinnati in 2008, was once rated the top prospect of Toronto and made 33 major league appears over three seasons with the Blue Jays, White Sox and Boston. But he spent all of last season in the International League and was 6-14 with a 4.25 ERA for Charlotte.
Cody Martin (3-2, 2.72 ERA) will start for the G-Braves in today 2:05 p.m. game against Indianapolis, with fellow right-hander Jake Brigham (1-2, 3.38 ERA) pitching for the Indians.
The four-game series continues Monday and Tuesday with 6:35 p.m. games. After an off day on Wednesday, Norfolk comes in for four games to conclude the homestand.